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Non-union employees to receive pay hike in Grandview

GRANDVIEW - City employees who are not members of a union will be afforded a 3 percent COLA (cost of living allowance) as per city ordinance set forth in the 2009 Grandview city budget.

This raised questions Monday from Councilman Jesse Palacios at the city of Grandview's regularly scheduled city council meeting. He wondered if the pay raise was comparable to that of other cities like Grandview.

City Administrator Scott Staples assured Palacios the raises were comparable to those provided in cities such as Toppenish, Wapato and Prosser.

Providing Palacios further assurance, Mayor Norm Childress and Councilwoman Jan McDonald added input. They both informed him the intent of the COLA is to remain fair to those under the employ of the city.

"(The raise) prevents some (union) employees from being treated differently than others (non-union)," said Childress.

The discussion continued with comments from Councilwoman Diana Jennings. She said, "I don't dispute (the city) employees work hard...I don't dispute they deserve raises...but, when we are closing the pool it doesn't always seem right."

Childress said the pool closure did not occur because of pay raises and raises provided to those who are members of a union have been bargained for and are under contract. In providing employees not associated with a union a cost of living allowance, the city is acting out of fairness. "We don't want to be charged with unfair labor practices," he noted.

Staples went on to say some employees have reached pay limits and are only allowed the COLA. He also noted the union contracts expire Dec. 31, 2009, implying pay raises will be up for further discussion and bargaining because of the expiration date.

With no further discussion on the topic, the Grandview City Council voted to approve the pay increases for non-union employees.

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